PASSING THE GAVEL
AM: What is the top issue facing you as president of NAFB in 2004?
I ran for office in NAFB not based on what I had done but what we could do as an association of broadcasters. I had just finished a two-year stint on our Strategic Planning committee. Members of that group identified a wide range of opportunities for farm broadcasters and for our association. Implementation of those concepts has been my first objective.
As I receive the gavel, I'm happy to report that many of the elements of that plan are already in place. In the year ahead, we'll give wings to the balance of the plan and continue to look ahead for new opportunities.
NAFB has dedicated two meetings this year to the "New Realities" in the industry. Sure, there's been change and, frankly, it's not over. But, change spells opportunity for those who embrace it, and that's exactly what we're going to do.
It would be easy to get caught up in the rhetoric of the day and lose our focus. Our mission hasn't changed: "Serve the farmers and ranchers of this country with the most accurate and up-to-the-minute information possible and inform the consuming public about the role agriculture plays in our economy."
Even though we have witnessed deregulation, consolidation and rapidly advancing technology, the fundamentals haven't really changed at all: farmers need information and we provide it.
What other form of media can deliver instantaneous information from around the globe without requiring the listener to lose focus on the task at hand. "The radio is the only medium you can listen to while you are making money." At the same time, the Internet and other wireless technologies afford broadcasters an opportunity to deliver information in a variety of ways, which can only prove to strengthen our relationship with farmers and ranchers.
AM: What is your biggest challenge personally?
I'd have to say managing time and coordinating people. Between family, work and the NAFB, I won't have to worry about downtime in 2004. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife, Robin, and three boys, ages five and under. And, we had a baby girl just before Thanksgiving.
In addition, I was given an opportunity to begin the Cromwell Agriculture Radio Network earlier this year. I'm providing farm programming to Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois from our studios in my hometown of Owensboro, Ky. In the year ahead, just like other NAFB officers, I'll be on the road reporting back to my listeners while representing the association.
AM: How can you help agrimarketers achieve success?
I believe agrimarketers want what farm broadcasters already have: a solid relationship with the end users of their products and services.
Farm broadcasters don't just talk to farmers. We talk with farmers. Individual farm broadcasters log thousands of miles each year in their respective areas of coverage. We know their farms, crops, joys and struggles. There's a relationship of trust that commands us to clarify the message, and that commitment goes for our customers as well.
I believe NAFB broadcasting properties can be an effective tool for agrimarketers to deliver results for their clients. I'd like to see a renewed emphasis in developing creative material for radio. Radio offers images as broad as the mind see.
With radio we can place that image at a time when farmers are listening closest for information pertinent to their vocation.
In the same respect, the farm broadcaster's ability to communicate within the local or regional area can be the key to turning the features of a product into the benefits for a customer and inventory into profit for our clients.
Our NAFB theme for 2004, "A Voice for Agriculture," may best define our objective in service to producers, consumers and the industry.
NAFB members, as well, speak "for" or "on behalf" of the agriculture industry. And one of the biggest opportunities for farm broadcasting is communicating the complex message of the industry to the urban audience.
The farm broadcast message falls on the ears of all listeners, which includes the non-farm consumer. NAFB members can help agrimarketers whose jobs are to sell products to farmers, as well as companies who need a better relationship with the mass audience we serve. AM